The functionality of a pulse timing discriminator, which is commonly required in optical communication systems and artificial neuromorphic engineering, was implemented into chalcogenide phase-change materials. GeSbTe (GST) and GeCuTe (GCT), which exhibit opposite refractive index behavior in their respective crystalline and amorphous phases, were employed. A GST/GCT double layer enabled the order of arrival of two counter-propagating femtosecond pulses to be encoded as a difference in the degree of amorphization of the GCT layer, i.e., either a brighter or darker contrast of the amorphized area with respect to the crystalline background. Nonthermal ultrafast amorphization contributed to a picosecond time resolution in the discrimination of the pulse arrival order.
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